Study links smoking and opioid use in young adults

  • Romberg AR & al.
  • Prev Med
  • 10.09.2019

  • von Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Among young adults, current smokers were significantly more likely to report recent use or misuse of prescription opioids than former and never smokers.

Why this matters

  • During 2015-2016, misuse of prescription opioids and rise in drug overdose deaths was greater among young adults aged 18-25 years than any other age group.

Study design

  • Survey data of 9633 young adults (age, 18-25 years) from the Truth Longitudinal Cohort, collected during 2014-2018.
  • Funding: Truth Initiative.  

Key results

  • 16% of the participants reported recent prescribed use of opioids, and 7.8% reported recent misuse.
  • Compared with former smokers:
    • Current cigarette smokers had a significantly higher risk for recent prescribed use of opioids (aOR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.01-1.69) and opioid misuse (aOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.09-2.03).
    • Never smokers had lower odds of recent opioid misuse (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.65-0.91), but not prescribed opioid use (aOR, 0.98; 0.79-1.21).
  • Compared with no lifetime prescribed use, odds of recent misuse were higher with prescribed opioid use in ≤6 months (aOR, 7.18; 95% CI, 5.15-10.01) and ≥6 months (aOR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.12-2.19).

Limitations

  • Self-reported data.
  • Reason for opioid use/misuse not covered.